Local Current Blog

New Power Generation members announce three Prince tribute concerts in June at Fine Line

Michael Bland performs at the Memorial Street Party outside of First Avenue on April 21, 2017 (Nate Ryan/MPR)

The first anniversary of Prince’s untimely death may have passed, but the celebration of his life is not ending any time soon.

Members of the New Power Generation (NPG), who worked with Prince from 1990-2013, have announced that they have plans to revisit Prince’s music in a celebration called “This Thing Called Life: The Prince Tribute 2017.” The celebration will span for three days — June 8, 9 and 10 — at the Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis.  Tickets are $45-$55.00 and can be purchased at the Fine Line box office as well as online.

NPG members onstage will include Michael Bland, Sonny Thompson, and Tommy Barberella. Rounding out the band are Julius Collins of Greazy Meal on vocals, Homer O’Dell of Mint Condition, and Jeremy Ylvisaker (The Suburbs) on guitar with Ryan Liestman (Jonas Brothers) on keys.

It’s a partial reunion of the band Bland assembled for the Memorial Street Party last Friday, and at least one other local legend who sang at that event will make a return appearance at the Fine Line. That would be David Pirner of Soul Asylum, who sang “I Wish U Heaven” and “The Cross” at the Street Party. Special guests at the Fine Line will also include Margaret Cox of Dr. Mambo’s Combo, Jamecia Bennett of Sounds of Blackness and The Hornheads (Prince’s horn section).

Taking place right after what would be Prince’s 59th birthday, “This Thing Called Life” promises to provide a fulfilling Prince tribute in a more intimate setting. Collins thinks that this celebration will be a healing one for Prince fans. “Based on what I saw at Paisley and on the streets at First Avenue recently, I think people are still emotionally raw,” he said in a press release. “But everyone is getting some distance after a year. The June event should finally prove cathartic for everyone onstage and on the dance floor.”

Other occasions on which NPG members have reunited to honor Prince include a run of shows last summer at the Parkway and just this past Sunday at Paisley Park’s Celebration 2017. Cecilia Johnson described the Parkway shows as “more jamboree than bereavement, which felt appropriate.”

Writer Hanna Bubser is an English student at Hamline University.